Recognized as one of the best defenders in baseball, Kim (28, San Diego) proved that assessment once again. He was named a finalist for the 2023 Gold Glove in both the second baseman and utility player categories, setting up the possibility of a “double win.
He will be the first Korean player and the first Asian infielder to win the award again. No Korean major leaguer has ever won the Gold Glove, and no Asian player has ever won the Gold Glove as an infielder instead of an outfielder. Kim goes for the “first.
Major League Baseball announced the three finalists for the 2023 Rollins Gold Glove in each category on its official social media accounts. As expected, Kim was nominated for both the National League Second Baseman and Utility Player categories, a new category created last year, giving him the potential to win a double.
Kim made waves last year when he was a “surprise” finalist for National League Shortstop of the Year. Although he didn’t win, it was a moment of recognition as a top-notch defender, and this is the second year in a row he’s been named a finalist.
The Gold Glove, which recognizes the best defensive player, is awarded in two categories. First, 75% of the votes are cast by each team’s coaching staff. A total of six members of each team’s coaching staff, including the manager, are eligible to vote and cannot vote for a player on their own team. The remaining 25% reflects 25% of the defensive metrics compiled by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). For utility players, 25% is based on separate defensive ratings from Rawlings, the organizers, and SABR.
For Kim, being a finalist means he’s already in the “top three”. A Gold Glove finalist last year as the starting shortstop in Fernando Tatis Jr.’s injury absence, Kim shifted positions this year with the acquisition of Xander Bogaerts. While he played mostly second base, he also saw time at shortstop and third base, making him a candidate for the “utility player” category. As expected, he was nominated in both categories, thanks to his good defense at all three positions.
Kim played 856⅔ innings at second base this year, 253⅓ at third base, and 153⅓ at shortstop. He has become an integral part of the San Diego defense, filling in for Bogaerts and starting third baseman Manny Machado. This nomination is a testament to his value.
Will Ha Sung Kim win the coveted second baseman award this year?
Kim is competing with Nico Horner (Chicago Cubs) and Bryson Stott (Philadelphia Phillies) for the National League second baseman award. Horner has been a consistent performer since the beginning of the season and was expected to be Kim’s most likely competitor. He debuted with the Cubs in 2019 and has played a variety of infield positions. In the beginning of his career, he was more of a utility player like Kim, but this year, he’s been playing mostly second base and occasionally shortstop.
Stott is a rookie who made his major league debut last year. Last year, he rotated between shortstop, second base, and third base, and this year, he played in 151 games as the team’s starting second baseman. None of the three have won a Gold Glove before. Any player would be thrilled to win their first Gold Glove.
He has every reason to win it. The records are there. According to Fielding Bible’s DRS (a metric that measures how many runs a defense prevents), Kim is at the top of the list. In 1263⅓ innings of defense this year, Kim has a +16 DRS. Horner’s +14 in 1304 innings is just below Kim’s, and Stott’s +6 in 1294⅓ innings is a bit lower.
However, the rankings change slightly when looking at other metrics. In terms of OAA (a metric that measures how many more outs a batter gets than average across a range of factors, including batted ball quality), Stott has the highest OAA at +16, followed by Horner at +15. Kim, on the other hand, is at +10, which is somewhat lower than both.
In terms of fielding run value, Stott is +13 and Horner is +11, while Kim is slightly worse at +7. In terms of defensive metrics, the three players are in a dead heat. Because of this, it’s possible that the defensive stats don’t show such a big difference between the three players. In the end, it’s the coaching staff vote that counts 75% of the time.
In this category, Kim might have an advantage. Kim is already recognized as one of the best defenders in the league. He was a Gold Glove finalist at shortstop last year, which helped his image. Add to that the fact that the media has been highlighting his defense all season long. Local and broadcast media alike have consistently praised his defense, and it’s a positive thing that his image as a “good defender” has been solidified.
In fact, there are analysts who believe that the fact that Tairo Estrada (San Francisco), who had the best OAA among second basemen this year, did not make the shortlist may be related to this. This is because it symbolizes that Kim has made a stronger impression in the eyes of the beholder than in the eyes of an accurate defensive metric, and that word-of-mouth is good. That’s why it’s likely that Kim will win the Gold Glove for second base this year.
Kim vs. Betts for two awards, with ‘teammate’ Edmon also in the mix
In addition to the second baseman category, Kim is also a finalist in the utility category. New for 2022, the utility category follows a recent trend of players playing multiple positions. In the past, these players were often unable to settle into a position and their records suffered for it. With the addition of the Utility category, this can be compensated for.
This year, the National League’s utility players are Ha-Sung Kim and Tommy Edmon (St. Louis Cardinals) and Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers). Betts usually plays right field, but this year, he moved to second base and shortstop, helping the team solve a complicated infield situation. Edmon, who has traditionally played shortstop and second base, also played center field this year, showing what it means to be a true utility player. 먹튀검증
Betts, one of the best players in the league in both offense and defense, had a +9 DRS this year, while Edman had a +3 DRS. In DRS, Kim leads them by a significant margin. In OAA, Edmon is +10, while Betts is -4. While Betts has impressed this year with his sacrifices in the infield, it’s hard to argue that he’s better than Ha-Sung Kim in overall defensive metrics.
Betts is also a finalist for the right fielder award. Kim and Betts are the only two players in the National League who have a chance to win a double. To do so, he’ll need to win the utility award. It’s a head-to-head matchup. Edmon already won the Gold Glove at shortstop in 2021. He’ll be looking to win his second Gold Glove.
Who will win the Gold Glove?
The winner will be announced on Nov. 6 at 8:30 a.m. ET. The league’s top defenders are in the running for the award. There’s a stacked field of nominees, and some tough positions to call.
At catcher in the National League, Patrick Bailey (San Francisco) and Gabriel Moreno (Arizona) will challenge J.T. Realmuto (Philadelphia) for the title of best catcher-defender. On the pitching side, Jesús Luzado (Miami), Taijuan Walker and Zack Wheeler (both Philadelphia) are the three finalists.
At first base, Carlos Santana (Milwaukee), who hasn’t gotten much praise for his defense in recent years, surprised everyone by being named a finalist, competing with Freddie Freeman (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Christian Walker (Arizona). In the third base category, we’re seeing big bang for the buck from Keith Brian Hayes (Pittsburgh) and Austin Riley (Atlanta). On the other hand, it’s an upset that Nolan Arenado (St. Louis), who is always on the list of top defenders, didn’t even make the final cut.
At shortstop, last year’s winner, Dansby Swanson (Chicago Cubs), will try to win his second straight award, while Francisco Lindor (New York Mets) and Ezequiel Tovar (Colorado) will compete for the jersey. In left field, Ian Happ (Chicago Cubs), Eddie Rosario (Atlanta), and David Peralta (LA Dodgers) will compete, while Michael Harris II (Atlanta), Alex Thomas (Arizona), and Brent Doyle (Colorado) will battle it out in center field.
Right field is the center of attention. With Betts in the mix, it will be interesting to see if Fernando Tatis Jr. (San Diego), who made the complete switch to right field this year and has been very good defensively, can win his first Gold Glove. Tatis Jr. has a +27 DRS this year, which ranks first overall among National League players.
In the American League, Jose Berrios (Toronto), Pablo Lopez, and Sonny Gray (all of Minnesota) will compete for pitching honors. Catcher is an intriguing category, with Alejandro Kirk (Toronto), Adley Rutledge (Baltimore), and Jonah Heim (Texas) among the rookie catchers. At first base, Anthony Rizzo’s (New York Yankees) legacy is challenged by Ryan Mountcastle (Baltimore) and Nathaniel Lowe (Texas).
At second base, Marcus Semien (Texas), Andres Jimenez (Cleveland), and Mauricio Duvon (Houston) will battle it out. At shortstop, Carlos Correa (Minnesota) and Corey Seager (Texas) are joined by rookie of the year Anthony Volpi (New York Yankees). It will be interesting to see if Seager can win his first Gold Glove.
In left field, Steve Kwan (Cleveland) and Austin Hays (Baltimore) challenge the reigning league leader in DRS, Dalton Bashaw (Toronto). In center field, Kevin Kiermaier (Toronto) will be challenged by Luis Robert Jr. (Chicago White Sox) and Jose Rodriguez (Seattle). In right field, Kyle Tucker (Houston), Adolis Garcia (Texas), and Alex Verdugo (Boston) will compete. On the utility side, Mauricio Duvon (Houston) will try for a second tour, with Zach McKinstry (Detroit) and Taylor Walls (Tampa Bay) competing.